By Karen Billing
The San Diego/Palm Springs region of the Classic Car Club of America is bringing its Springtime Grand Classic to Rancho Santa Fe on Saturday, April 21. The historic Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, a classic in itself, will serve as the venue for some 50 classic cars parked on the lawn for an event free to the public.
Vicki Zeiger, director for the regional group and a Rancho Santa Fe resident, is coordinating the event that was last held at The Inn in 2006.
“All the gorgeous cars will be on the lawn for people to take photos and talk to the owners about their history. Owners love to talk about their cars,” Zeiger said. “It’s a really fun event,”
The Classic Car Club of America was established 60 years ago to preserve and promote cars that were built in what they call the classic era, 1925 to 1948.
Back in those years car designers became famous for their body styles and the cars were named after them — names like Franklins, Packards and Darrins.
“They were beautiful, beautiful high-end cars,” said Zeiger, looking at a picture of a shiny, restored, cream-colored convertible Auburn car with red interiors and white wall tires. “Can’t you just see an old movie star sitting in that car?”
Generally, there were very few of these models of cars made, which makes them very unique. Owners must register their cars with the national office to maintain tradition and assure that the cars are truly from the 1925- 1948 era and restored to their original beginnings. Judges confirm that the car still runs, all the mechanical systems work and even that the paint is according to the original specifications — the only alteration allowed is the addition of seat belts.
The seat belts are important because the car club is not just about having shows, they also drive their classic cars. Zeiger said members often pick a spot and meet up for a “CARavan.” Last summer, Zeiger and her husband put their car on a transporter to Nova Scotia and drove it around with a CARavan in Newfoundland.
“We enjoy getting together and driving around different parts of the country and showing the cars off and talking about what a classic car is,” said Zeiger, who owns a 1941 Cadillac convertible with her husband Carl. “It’s a really wonderful and positive experience, it’s great to preserve something so important to our history.”
Zeiger had always been interested in cars and as she was getting ready to retire was looking for a hobby she could “sink her teeth into.” As friends had previously joined the club, Zeiger and her husband joined, as well, to learn more as they looked for a classic car to purchase.
Now she’s been the director for the last year.
“I’m not really mechanical but I’ve learned a lot more than I ever thought I would,” Zeiger said. “And I have developed a sense of what I find really beautiful and the historical value of these cars…they’re like beautiful pieces of jewelry.”
The regional group hosts about eight meetings a year in San Diego or Palm Springs in addition to special events like the one at The Inn and caravan tours. The Sunday after their show in Rancho Santa Fe, the group will caravan to Temecula to Thornton Winery for brunch.
The April 21 event will begin at 10 a.m. To learn more about membership or the upcoming event, visit sandiegopalmspringsregion.classiccarclub.org.